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Lifeguard resuscitates 7-year-old boy

2 minutes of CPR gets him breathing again

Staff writer

“We need to start praying.”

Audrey Schultz doesn’t remember who yelled that. She wasn’t focusing on the approximately 80 people who gathered around the Morning Star Ranch pool Saturday.

She was focused on the boy, 7, who had been dragged from the bottom of the pool and wasn’t breathing. She was focused on the years of CPR training she hadn’t needed until this moment.

Schultz was lifeguarding during a free-time portion of a weekend church retreat to Morning Star Ranch four miles east of Florence.

Someone else had spotted the body of a 7-year-old boy, Benjamin, at the bottom of the pool, Schultz said. He was brought to the side of the pool, where she was immediately able to begin administering CPR.

Schultz said she administered CPR for about two minutes before the boy began coughing up water and vomiting.

“No doubt it was a miracle,” said Schultz’s husband, Paul.

An ambulance from Florence made it in “nice time,” Paul said. Before the ambulance left, Benjamin was moving his legs, had said his name, and had confirmed that he would like some ice cream. Audrey said the EMS crew commended her for her prompt administering of CPR.

Benjamin was taken to St. Luke hospital. From there he was airlifted to Wichita.

By Sunday afternoon, Benjamin was out of the hospital. Pictures sent to Audrey, which were not made public, showed the boy smiling with his family.

The hospital sent Audrey a letter of appreciation for her swift response.

“Your actions saved Ben’s life,” the letter read.

Benjamin was at Morning Star Ranch with Restored Church in Wichita. Audrey said a pastor from that church went with Benjamin to the hospital and kept updating them.

“Every news we got was good news,” Audrey said.

“It’s great that we don’t have a tragedy,” Craig said. “We have a victory.”

Audrey, originally from Derby, said she has family that lives in Marion. Paul is originally from Hillsboro and is a graduate of Tabor College.

Schultz lives at the ranch with her husband, Paul, who is director. She is in charge of marketing.

Most of their days are spent “enriching the lives of the urban poor with the power of the Gospel,” Paul said. Groups stay for weeks or weekends to participate in team-building exercises, worship together, and get away to the ranch’s beautiful grounds that span about 550 acres.

Saturday was different.

Audrey remembers when the boy began breathing again, not feeling overwhelmed by the thrill of saving a life, or not the least bit concerned that there was vomit on her shirt. Her only thought was on what to do next to make sure Benjamin stayed alive.

“In that moment,” she said, “God was there with us.”

Last modified June 24, 2015

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